Formula 1

Vettel has been outshone by Ricciardo for most of the season so far (©GettyImages)
Vettel has been outshone by Ricciardo for most of the season so far (©GettyImages).

Sebastian Vettel fears F1 has lost its appeal

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After an earlier rebuke for his comments on the new V6-powered F1, Sebastian Vettel continues to admit his disdain for the sport’s new direction.

Last month the German was sent a letter by FIA President Jean Todt warning he risked bringing the sport into disrepute after describing the new V6 noise as “s**t”.

Red Bull backed Vettel over the comments claiming their philosophy allows their drivers to speak their mind, however, since then the four-time champion has chosen his words more carefully.

In his latest attack, Vettel has questioned whether the sport could risk losing its identity with the quieter, deeper tone.

“We are a sport that is famous for being loud and dangerous,” he told the German newsmagazine Focus.

Asked what engine formula he would prefer Vettel expressed his desire for a return to V10 or V12 sized units producing 1000 horsepower.

“I would like to drive cars that are as fast as they can be — I need to feel as though I am taming a dragon or a beast,” he explained.

Certainly Vettel’s current ‘beast’ is proving much harder for the German to get a grip over, the four-time champion has been largely put in the shade by his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo who has out-qualified and out-raced his illustrious team-mate for most of the first four races.

Most are pinning Vettel’s unhappiness over the new rules on this very reason, with the end of the blown diffuser era the 26-year-old is struggling to adapt his driving style to the more lively RB10.

“The car does not know what I want,” he said, “under braking and in the corners I have an absolute lack of confidence.”

As for Ricciardo he is hoping that his current superiority over Vettel leads to a fair fight when the German ultimately re-finds his form.

The Australian has been one of the big stories so far with the team asking Vettel to let Daniel past in the previous two races.

After being co-operative in Bahrain, the hard-nosed Vettel rekindled memories of Malaysia 2013 by initially ignoring a team order to let Ricciardo by in Shanghai telling the team “tough luck” before ultimately losing out a few laps later.

That defiance comes as the topic of team orders remains hot on the agenda with Mercedes questioning its current policy and after Felipe Massa ignored a team instruction in Malaysia.

Though he is yet to be asked to let his team-mate so far, Ricciardo believes it is the responsibility of a driver to follow what the team tells you regardless of personal feelings.

“It’s not always nice if you are being told to move over. It’s not nice being that slower car, it’s frustrating,” he told the West Australian newspaper.

“(But) it is our responsibility to obey it, unless it’s completely out-of-order and then we can obviously try to put up a fight and give our reasons.

“But the team are doing all the calculations on the pit wall during the race and you have to respect what they’re saying,” Ricciardo insisted.

With some believing tensions could be rising within the Red Bull garage, Ricciardo claims he is up for the fight with Vettel.

“We know it ourselves and even told each other that we want to race hard,” he said.

“I want to race the best version of Seb and he wants to race the best version of me. At the end of the day I think we’ll both respect whoever’s done a better job.

That final point will interest some due to Vettel’s notoriously uneasy relationship with Ricciardo’s predecessor Mark Webber, but the man from Perth seems keen not to kindle a similar tension between him and his fellow Red Bull stable-mate.

“If Seb has done a better job this year, I won’t like it, but I’ll definitely respect him for it and give him the credit he deserves.

“I think that’s a two-way street. We understand what a fair fight is and we enjoy that,” added Ricciardo.

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